From the Babbler Editorial Board:
Nowadays, there is always someone posting live commentary on social media during public events. It should be common knowledge, but apparently, Mayor Roger Claar isn’t aware of this.
During the July 10 Village Board meeting, Jason Cann, the administrator of the Bolingbrook Politics Facebook group, sat in the audience and posted his live commentary. Others in the group joined in. Near the end of the meeting, Claar looked out at Cann and said: “Mr. Cann, you’ve got all these questions and facts you’ve brought up on the Internet. Why don’t you come up here and get the facts?” When Cann declined to approach the podium, Claar then sarcastically addressed his questions and comments.
Setting aside the question of why Claar is browsing social media during a public meeting, we feel that his behavior was more than inappropriate. It seemed to us to be an intimidation attempt— Like a teacher calling a student up to the front of the class to embarrass them. Board meetings are not classrooms, and Bolingbrook residents are not students. Claar should know the difference, as he has worked in both education and politics.
It has been a rough month for Claar. Between losing control of Clow UFO Base and a possible Russian weather attack against the All American Celebration, we can understand why he would be upset. He must, however, know that he is a public servant and not the king of Bolingbrook.
There are other ways Claar could have dealt with Cann. We agree with Trustee Robert Jaskiewicz’s suggestion that Claar and Cann could have met in private to discuss their differences. Claar could have presented his case on social media as well. He has a Facebook account, an inactive Twitter account, and at least two Facebook groups that are allied with him. Additionally, he could have addressed the comments without calling out Cann.
The value of an idea or the validity of a complaint isn’t based on whether or not it is presented in front of the entire Village Board. Good ideas can come from Facebook posts, and bad ideas can come from elected officials. Jaskiewicz is correct to believe that Roger’s behavior could discourage others from expressing their concerns or presenting their views. We need more residents to be aware of what’s going on and to be more willing to offer their suggestions.
We don’t agree with everything Cann writes about the village, but we are glad that the Internet gives the people of Bolingbrook an opportunity to offer their views and suggestions about their community. At times it’s not pretty — but its part of democracy and Bolingbrook could use more democracy.